Resident of Los Altos May 2, 1933 – April 19, 2019 Bob McConnell passed away April 19 after a brief hospital stay, just shy of his 86thbirthday. Bob was born May 2, 1933, to Olive and Grenfall McConnell. He attended Oakland High School and the University of California, Berkeley, leaving Cal in 1954 to join the Air Force. He was the only member of his testing class to move on to pilot training, after which he attended officer training in Bainbridge, GA. It was during his initial assignment, in Libya, that he met his “first love” — a 1931 Fiat sports roadster that he restored, instilling a lifelong love of antique cars. After Libya, he was stationed in Japan, as well as Arizona, Florida, Michigan, and New York. He was honorably discharged in 1968 at the rank of captain with over 8,000 hours piloting the B-57. He returned to the Bay Area, employed by Pan American World Airways as a flight engineer.
It was through his participation with the Mid-Peninsula Old Time Auto Club that he met the second love of his life, Sandy, in 1973; the couple wed in 1974. They bought their forever home in Los Altos in 1975 and spent many years transforming the single-story ranch house into a New England saltbox, competing nearly all of the work themselves over many years. The home, with its extensive gardens, has been the setting for family gatherings ever since. Upon retiring from Pan Am after 17 years, Bob focused on several real-estate ventures, including ownership of an apartment complex in Mountain View and a laundromat in Milpitas, which he subsequently expanded to four locations throughout the South Bay, and on his various hobbies. As a lifelong bird fancier, Bob raised Birmingham Roller pigeons, chickens and many other varieties of birds. He also enjoyed gardening and was a self-taught carpenter, electrician and plumber. He enjoyed skiing and camping with family and friends. Bob collected, restored, and drove many antique cars and the couple enjoyed touring much of the West Coast with various antique car clubs. In 1990, the couple purchased a lot on Donner Lake and designed a six-bedroom “cabin,” which was Bob’s home away from home for nearly 20 years. Bob was an active member of Los Altos United Methodist Church for 40 years and made many close friends there. He is survived by his wife Sandy, his sons and daughters-in-law, Dan & Chris Pitchford-Luke, Larry & Renee Sanguinetti, and Ken & Maricar McConnell; grandchildren Dylan, Collin & Ella McConnell, and Genevieve Sanguinetti; and several nieces and nephews and their families. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, known affectionately as “Grenny.” A celebration of his life has been held. Memorial contributions may be made to the Yosemite Conservancy: yosemiteconservancy.org.